Saturday, February 27, 1999

Abusive mother’s
attorney asks jurors
for lesser charges

She says not all injuries suffered
by Reubyne were Pada's fault

By Debra Barayuga


A mother accused of beating and shaking her son so violently that he ended up in a coma is not the monster many make her out to be, the attorney for Kimberly Pada says.

Attorney Helen Wong yesterday asked a Circuit Court jury to consider lesser charges of assault or attempted manslaughter.

The jury began deliberating yesterday afternoon, and will resume deliberations Monday.

Reubyne Buentipo Jr., the third of Pada's four children, was rushed unconscious to Castle Hospital on Aug. 31, 1997, with burns and bruises over his body and bleeding to the brain.

The boy, now 5, remains in a coma at a convalescent home.

Pada, 29, of Kailua is charged with second-degree attempted murder and two counts of abusing a household member in a case that has shocked the community and led to passage of a law that places a child's safety ahead of family reunification.

If convicted of attempted murder, Pada will have to serve at least 15 years before she is eligible for parole, Wong said.

Referring to the boy's injuries, "The serious ones she did, but we don't think all was caused by Kimberly," Wong said.

Among the most serious injuries the boy suffered were bleeding to the brain and the eyes, a severe burn to the left foot that Pada claimed was caused by her 5-year-old daughter warming him with a hair dryer, and scorch marks that resembled cigarette burns.

Wong said some bruises could have been accidental, caused by the boy's siblings or self-inflicted, because Reubyne Jr. was prone to falling and was constantly scratching himself raw.

Pada had a crystal methamphetamine addiction, herself suffered from past abuse by her mother and boyfriends, and was having trouble raising four children alone, without help from their fathers, Wong said.

Deputy Prosecutor Dan Oyasato argued Pada purposely tried to hurt Reubyne Jr., treating him maliciously out of disdain and anger. "This is a case of hatred, of a woman who wanted her son dead," he said.

In the days before her son was rushed to the hospital, Pada systematically beat, battered, burned and shook her son to the point where he responds only to pain, Oyasato said.

And Pada failed to obtain medical treatment for her son, doing nothing for five hours until she called a friend to report he was unresponsive, he said.

Oyasato said Pada embarked on a course of conduct in which she was practically certain her son would die.

Pada had admitted to others that she hated Reubyne Buentipo Sr. because he had abused and raped her. She expressed fear that he would return upon his release from prison.

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